Understanding Property Repairs and Maintenance

Property repairs and maintenance cover a wide scope of responsibility. In this article, you will be guided about your responsibilities as a landlord or as a tenant. This article is going to discuss the benefits of property repairs, the responsibilities of each party involved, and the difference between repair and maintenance. 

What are the Benefits of Regular Property Repair Inspections?

Regular property inspections can help identify potential issues early, preventing them from becoming major problems and saving money in the long run. They can also improve safety by identifying safety hazards like faulty wiring, leaks, or structural damage, preventing accidents and injuries. Regular maintenance can increase property value, especially if the property is planned to be sold in the future. Inspections also ensure compliance with local building codes and regulations, avoiding fines and legal issues. Lastly, regular inspections provide peace of mind by ensuring the property is in good condition and potential issues are promptly addressed. It is recommended to schedule inspections at least once a year, or more frequently if the property is older or experiences heavy use.

The Landlord’s Responsibilities for Property Repairs

Structural Repairs

Structural repairs are those that affect the stability and safety of the building, such as issues with the foundation, walls, roof, or floors. This includes making necessary repairs to the structure of the building. Landlords are required to maintain the property in a reasonable state of repair and to ensure that it meets all applicable building codes and safety standards. If a tenant reports a structural issue, such as a crack in the foundation or a leaky roof, the landlord should take prompt action to address the problem. Failure to address structural issues can result in legal liability for the landlord.

 Health and Safety

Landlords are legally obligated to ensure the safety and well-being of their tenants by addressing various health and safety hazards.The property must be safe, sanitary, and comfortable to stay on. Health and safety issues may include mold and dampness, pest infestations, electrical hazards, and other potential hazards. Landlords must take prompt action to address these safety hazards to ensure the safety and well-being of their tenants.

Any pre-existing issues

Any pre-existing issues with a rental property should be fixed by the landlord prior to the tenant’s arrival. Fixing the pre-existing defects of a property is one of the landlord’s major responsibilities before letting another tenant in. As a tenant, it is essential to be aware of the pre-existing issues with the property before moving and have it repaired by the one responsible. 

Normal wear and tear

Property deteriorates over time, and that can’t be avoided but can be aided. Normal wear and tear includes items like worn-out carpet, faded paint, and appliances that have reached the end of their useful life. Establishing a clear understanding of normal wear and tear in your lease agreement can prevent disputes between landlords and tenants over responsibility for repairs. This commonly includes:

  • Fading or discoloration of paint or wallpaper due to exposure to sunlight or aging
  • Minor scuffs or scratches on floors or walls caused by regular use
  • Worn or faded carpeting due to foot traffic.
  • Faded or worn blinds or curtains due to exposure to sunlight.
  • Loose or worn doorknobs, handles, or hinges due to regular use
  • Minor chips or cracks in tiles or countertops due to regular use
  • Fading or wear on appliances due to regular use
  • Fading or wear on bathroom fixtures such as faucets, showerheads, or toilet seats due to regular use
  • Minor rust or corrosion on metal fixtures due to exposure to moisture or aging.
  • Fading or wear on exterior paint or siding due to exposure to weather

 

Acts of God

Landlords are responsible for maintaining their rental properties in a safe and habitable condition, including repairs related to acts of God, which are natural disasters beyond human control. If an act of God damages the property, the landlord is responsible for making the necessary repairs to restore it to a safe and habitable condition. Acts of God may include:

  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, or wildfires
  • Severe weather conditions such as heavy rain, hail, or snowstorms
  • Lightning strikes or power surges that damage electrical systems or appliances
  • Falling trees or branches due to high winds or storms.
  • Sinkholes or landslides that cause structural damage to the property
  • Pest infestations
  • Overflowing rivers or lakes due to heavy rainfall or flooding
  • Damage caused by wildfires or other natural disasters that spread to the rental property

 

Tenant’s responsibilities for Property Repairs

Negligent Acts (Tenant-Caused Damage)

Tenants are responsible for repairing property damage caused by their negligence, neglect, misuse, or abuse. They are responsible for repairing any damage they cause, such as broken windows or damaged walls. In some cases, the lease agreement may outline specific responsibilities for repairs and damage caused by tenants. Below are some of the most common examples of negligence acts that fall under the tenant’s responsibility to repair.

  • Failure to report leaks: If a tenant notices a leak in the property and fails to report it to the landlord, it can cause water damage to the walls, floors, and ceilings.
  • Improper use of appliances: Misusing appliances such as stoves, ovens, and washing machines can cause damage to the property and create safety hazards.
  • Failure to maintain cleanliness: Neglecting to clean the property regularly can lead to mold growth, pest infestations, and other health hazards.
  • Damage caused by pets: If a tenant has a pet and fails to properly train or supervise it, the pet may cause damage to the property, such as scratching or chewing on furniture or flooring.
  • Unauthorized modifications: Making unauthorized modifications to the property, such as painting walls or installing fixtures without permission, can cause damage and reduce the value of the property.
  • Failure to properly dispose of trash: Allowing trash to accumulate on the property can attract pests and create unpleasant odors.
  • Neglecting to report maintenance issues: If a tenant notices a maintenance issue, such as a broken window or malfunctioning HVAC system, and fails to report it to the landlord, it can cause further damage to the property.

Outdoor maintenance

Outdoor maintenance or repairs is one of the tenant’s responsibilities. Tenants are responsible for various outdoor maintenance tasks, including lawn care, garden maintenance, snow removal, trash removal, and pest control. These tasks may vary depending on the terms of your lease agreement and the landlord’s requirements. Common responsibilities include mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, and controlling grass and weeds. If there is a garden, tenants may be responsible for watering, weeding, and pruning.

Repairs before moving out

As a tenant, you are responsible for maintaining the property’s condition before vacating it. This includes making necessary repairs, which may depend on the terms of your lease agreement and the property’s condition at the time of your move. Before moving out, inspect the property thoroughly and review your lease agreement to determine your specific responsibilities. The tenant’s responsibilities for property repairs before moving out may include:

  • Repairing any damage caused by you or your guests during your tenancy
  • Fix any damage caused by normal wear and tear, such as scuffed walls or worn carpeting, if your lease agreement requires it.
  • Cleaning the property thoroughly, including carpets, floors, and appliances
  • Remove any personal property or trash that you have left behind.
  • Restoring the property to its original condition if you have made any alterations or modifications during your tenancy
  • Replacing any light bulbs or other fixtures that are not working.
  • Repairing any plumbing or electrical issues that you have caused

What is the Difference Between Property Maintenance and Property Repairs?

Property maintenance and property repairs are crucial aspects of property management. Property maintenance involves ongoing tasks to maintain a property’s good condition and prevent damage or deterioration. It includes routine tasks like cleaning, landscaping, and painting, which help prevent damage and maintain the property’s value. Property maintenance is proactive and preventive, identifying and addressing potential issues before they become major problems.

Property repairs, on the other hand, are reactive and are done in response to specific problems or issues, such as wear and tear, weather damage, or accidents. Examples of property repairs include fixing a leaky roof, repairing a broken window, or replacing a damaged floor. Both aspects are essential for ensuring a property remains in good condition and retains its value over time.

Conclusion

All in all, property maintenance and property repairs are essential aspects of property management, working together to maintain a property’s value and prevent damage. Property maintenance involves ongoing tasks to keep the property in good condition, while property repairs are specific tasks to fix or restore damaged or deteriorated properties. Proactive property maintenance and timely repairs help property owners avoid costly repairs and maintain their property as a valuable asset.

For more information on how we can keep your Sacramento rental occupied, contact us at Eagle Property Management.

Request a Property Management Quote